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Ninth annual Aspen Uphill to test racers this weekend

Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer

For those of you who enjoy a challenge, the 9th annual Aspen Uphill returns this weekend with the second installment of the Aspen Summer Race Series.

The race, which starts just above the gondola and follows the Summer Road to the Sundeck at the top of Aspen Mountain, covers 4.4 miles and climbs 3,300 vertical feet.

“It hurts to run that thing, you find out a lot about yourself in a race like this,” said race coordinator Chris Keleher, who also coaches the Aspen High School cross-country teams. “It’s definitely a challenge, a personal challenge.”

Keleher expects about 100 runners and hikers and 20 mountain bikers.

Despite the difficulty of the race, Keleher said it’s the most popular of the three races in the series.

“[Racers] recognize that it does benefit a very successful program that has a lot of history,” Keleher said. “It’s just a good test, see where you stand at the end of the summer.”

All proceeds from the three races benefit the AHS cross-country team. The series raises between $3,000 and $4,000 a year after the sponsors and entry fees, Keleher said.

Jeremy Wright, of Vail, holds the men’s running record with a time of 45 minutes, 24 seconds, set in 1998. The women’s record was set by Michele Keans in 1995 with a time of 58:19.

The men’s biking record was set by Tom Hayles, a former world champion, at 51:33 in 2000. The women’s bike record was set by Tammy Jacques Grewal, also in 2000, with a time of 57:35, “which is just smokin’,” Keleher said.

The first race in the series was the Aspen Downtown Mile, which was won by Aspen local Thad Reichley in 4:55. The final race in the series, the Chuck Severy First Memorial 5K, takes place Oct. 4 on what Keleher calls a true cross-country course.

“The three races are a cross-section of what makes this town tick,” Keleher said.

Racers can register for the Aspen Uphill at 5 p.m. Friday night at the Ute Mountaineer, or at 7 a.m. Saturday at the gondola. The bike leg of the race starts at 8 a.m., with the runners taking off 15 minutes later.

Two aid stations will be positioned about a third of the way and two thirds of the way up the course.

Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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